Ray RaimundiJul 26, 2018, 6:03 pmJul 26, 2018, 7:00 pm

FiOS1 News, Westchester Magazine investigate agriculture in Westchester County

Hilltop Hanover Farm focuses on cultivation, harvest of vegetables

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HILLTOP HANOVER FARMS – FiOS1 News and Westchester Magazine investigated agriculture in Westchester County. The county is home to thousands of acres of farmland.

Hilltop Hanover Farm is home to roosters, hens, goats, and green farmland. The almost 52 acres of sprawling farmland, owned by the county, has a history dating back to the 1700s.

It is one of five farms in Westchester County featured in the September issue of Westchester Magazine.

“So agriculture does exist in Westchester County. There are some remaining farms. But they are few and far between," Farm Director Shanyn Siegel said. "Educating people about the need for sustainable agriculture, the importance of local food and educating the next generation about the connection between our communities and our food systems."

There are approximately 8,600 acres of farmland in the county.

Hilltop Hanover focuses on cultivation and harvesting of vegetables, which takes months of planning and extensive labor. For example, a root crop like a potato or a fruit crop like eggplant takes anywhere from three to four months from seed to table.

"There’s a lot of work. There's sewing, seeding, planting, leading, cultivating, harvesting, washing, [and] packaging. Everything you probably don't think about when you are buying vegetables from the store," Siegel said.

The seeding and cultivation usually begins in the greenhouse, harvesting is then conducted. During the process farmers need to fight off animals who prey on the crop, and the elements of nature.

"It's just a big challenge to really be able to produce vegetables, out in the air and an uncontrolled environment," Siegel said.

The recent trade war on tariffs by President Donald Trump is creating a backlash for farmers right in New York.

"It’s really hard to compete with that. It does take a lot to grow a carrot or to produce an heirloom tomato, and that's why the cost is higher if you are purchasing your produce locally," Siegel said.

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